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How can we show colleges we would want to participate in extracurriculars during these times?
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I'm a Sophomore in high school, and most of my life my parents often worried if I joined any extracurriculars outside of school, something would happen to me. Last year, I had planned on working my senior year to afford college, and join several local charities and organizations in junior year. However, now that there's a virus that's quite deadly to older people and those who are symptomatic and have a history of certain diseases, I can't really afford to do these things on my parents expense. As well as the racial divide that's ongoing, my parents now have no intention of letting me join any group - even in-school clubs - for fear of these things. I have lived in a dangerous neighborhood most of my life, and want to go to college, and a good one that encourages STEM courses and pushes me to my best. Mostly, I'd love to be a part of Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, or UCLA, not because of their status, but the personality (the vibe, as they call it) each school has. Time and time again, I've been hearing that it's not just grades that help you go to college, and I've worked hard to convince my parents to let me join these activities, because, as much as I'd like it to be for college, it's cool how I can help out someone who might've gone through something harsh and make them feel better.

Perspective-wise, there are so many different things happening to people all over the world, and there are teens who want to change the world for the better. To be a part of it, I'd need to protect myself to protect my family from the virus. Where I live, being extremely careful with strangers is the normal. I hope others are doing well through this. It's becoming harder to trust police, people, and even a family member that came back from the store, so what can I do to help the community through all of this?

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UCLA
volunteering
sophomore
classof2023
safety
college
extracurriculars

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Hello @eli.ensave!

I'm a high school senior. I understand the challenges that you are facing in striving to incorporate community service to strengthen your application and help other people, but not being able to do so because of restricting factors like COVID-19 and social issues. I wanted to let you know that during these challenging times, it is completely alright if your plans have changed due to factors that are beyond your control. Colleges will surely understand that. You are also only a sophomore as of now, meaning you have a little more than two years to demonstrate this interest in helping people through extra curricular activities you wish to pursue in the future. However, there are still online initiatives at this current time that you can take in order to foster your interests. For example, you can start a non profit organization that raises awareness for issues like racial divide or how COVID disproportionately affects communities (these are just ideas by the way). You can also try an online tutoring platform where you can tutor kids while maybe earning money. Another initiative you can take is starting fundraisers for certain issues and collaborating with other people in order to network and raise money for your fundraiser.

Besides your community building interests, you say that you are interested in the STEM field. You can try doing online hackathons or maybe self learning a programming language course and try to fix bugs or issues. You can also try doing math or science research on your own and writing a journal article and trying to get it published.

Overall, there are still ways that you can connect with your community without having to physically join charities and organizations in order to help people. Hopefully, your parents will recognize your deep interest in helping your community and the lengths you going to really make an impact on others' lives. I hope my answer helped! Good luck in all of your future endeavors.